However, the progressive movement has a challenging path to navigate.

When we lose sight of unity and allow our social justice advocacy to drive polarization, we inevitably undermine the cause.

Even if the progressive movement is generally on the morally correct side of social issues, its methods in achieving social justice have been flawed, even fatally so.

For any cause, it is not enough to merely be “right.” That rightness must be perceived positively by the rest of society.

Problematically, however, many citizens have perceived that progressive efforts to empower certain groups in our society will come at the cost of their own power.

These problems with public image are also related to the perceived exclusivity of the progressive movement.

Ironically, it is in this fashion that the progressive movement often acts in antithesis to the moral value of inclusion that is a core progressive principle.

To highlight an alternative approach to social change — togetherness — and to further elucidate the flaws of an identity-based movement, allow me to use diversity initiatives as an illustration.

After all, it is not our differences, but rather the commonalities at the essence of our existence, that make us equal and provide the most powerful argument for a just society.

Thus, the response of uniformity cowers in the face of heterogeneity by invoking superiority.

It should be evident that the progressive movement has fallen victim to the trappings of heterogeneity and has lost sight of our commonalities.

When the many voices of humanity sing in harmony, they produce the symphony that is togetherness.

When the many voices of humanity sing in dissonance, they produce the cacophony that is war. When the many voices of humanity sing in unison, they produce the solo that is suppression. But when the many voices of humanity sing in harmony, they produce the symphony that is togetherness.

Togetherness is the answer and the alternative to uniformity. Togetherness transcends heterogeneity by recognizing commonality.

In contrast, when we replace togetherness with more tribalistic approaches, social causes are bound to be perceived antagonistically by groups that feel unheard.

As these structural changes have made working-class white Americans vulnerable to divisive ideologies, the progressive movement has simultaneously become hyper-focused on identity-based causes rather than universal solidarity, reinforcing the perception of white Americans that their power in society is being eroded.

To be clear, I am in no way blaming the progressive movement for these conspiracy theories.

Altogether, a demagogue cannot divide us independently. We must allow a demagogue to divide us.

By choosing tribalism over togetherness, we have opted to let the weeds spread.

Human, activist, scholar. Physician-Economist-in-training @UMich. CEO @proghealth. @FulbrightPrgrm Awardee. I work on anything that matters, locally & globally.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store